I’ve never had much of a green thumb – it’s more brownish black. But you wouldn’t know it by looking at my yard.
That’s because I’ve learned the fine art of harboring only plants that thrive on their own without any help from me. Survival of the fittest. Lord of the Venus Fly-traps.
One of those hearty independent souls in my yard is the hibiscus. Three years ago I planted two 8-inch high variegated-leaf hibiscus (okay you spelling fanatics, is the plural version hibisces, hibisci, or hibiscuses?) in a spot in my side flowerbed vacated by the last victim of neglect. The lovely little plants were covered with beautiful red-orange blossoms sticking out long orange tongues bejeweled with tiny yellow sparkles.
Yep. Three years ago I planted them, and three years ago was the last time I saw them bloom.
That’s not to say they haven’t grown – not at all. One look at the 7-feet-tall lush plants would make you believe they’re actually thriving. I notice my neighbors fertilize theirs several times a year and the crazy things bloom constantly all the way through the summer. They also prune their hibiscus back to short bare stalks each winter, but I’ve never bothered with all that. And mine just keep getting bigger and bigger, so they must be doing okay, right?
But they never bloom.
I don’t get it. Isn’t that what flowers are supposed to do?
And then yesterday I walked outside after a rainstorm to find my jumbo hibiscus plants lying flat on the ground. Apparently they’d grown so tall, their long lanky stems couldn’t withstand the additional weight of rain collecting on their leaves and they finally gave way beneath the strain.
Oh. Could that be why my neighbors cut theirs back?
As I stood there shaking my head at their pitiful plight, the thought occurred to me that people are a lot like those hibiscus. We may grow and look like we’re doing fine, but if not given enough fertilizer, we may never bloom. And if we’re not pruned and cared for properly, we’ll collapse beneath the weight of storms we simply can’t endure.
Thankfully, Papa God is a MUCH better gardener than I am and He knows how to nurture us to our bloomingest.
On a happy note, we were able to save the spunky little fellas. Spouse chopped them in half and within a day, they were standing erect again, looking mighty happy to be there. And I thought I heard the littlest hibiscus stalk whisper, “Please, sir, may I have some gruel?” I think he meant fertilizer.